The World Food Prize Foundation

The World Food Prize Hires Ag Educator to Inspire Iowa Youth


Des Moines, Iowa (July 21, 2014) – The World Food Prize Foundation announced today that Jacob Hunter has joined its staff as the Director of Iowa Education Programs.

“Our goal is to make the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute the best program in America and a model for inspiring the next generation to follow academic and career paths in food, agriculture and fighting hunger, reaching into every high school in the state. And we’ve hired the best person to do that,” said Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, President of The World Food Prize Foundation. “Jacob brings a wealth of firsthand experience both working in the field and connecting with students, and we are extremely fortunate to have him joining our team.”

Mr. Hunter’s primary role will be coordinating the Iowa Youth Institute program and building it out into every high school in the state to introduce more students to the wide array of academic and career opportunities in STEM and agriculture fields, following the vision of Paul and Claudia Schickler, who have funded the program for the past three years with a generous grant to The World Food Prize Foundation. 

He will also help expand The World Food Prize Foundation’s existing education programs to create opportunities for high school students to explore global issues that affect food security and hunger, and develop their own solutions to the most pressing challenges we face. 

“After experiencing the effects of food insecurity firsthand both locally and internationally, I want to empower Iowa youth to take on the challenge of feeding the world,” said Hunter. “They are the future leaders who will solve the critical issues we face, and I look forward to introducing students to these issues so they can take the reins and make a real difference in the world.”

Mr. Hunter was born and raised on a family farm outside of DeWitt, Iowa. At a young age, he enjoyed his experiences as a member of 4-H and FFA, and was inspired to major in Agricultural Education at Iowa State University. While at ISU, he served as a State Vice President of Iowa FFA, participated in an international leadership seminar in China, and taught and researched at Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO), a non-governmental organization in rural Uganda. 

After student teaching at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Mr. Hunter taught for a year in Illinois and was then hired as the agriculture instructor for Des Moines Public Schools and an adjunct professor for DMACC. While teaching there for two years, he served as an advisor for the Des Moines FFA and Junior Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences Chapters. He has also had several students participate in The World Food Prize youth programs.

Mr. Hunter infused STEM curriculum into his classroom daily through experiential learning, project based learning, and utilizing the national CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) curriculum. Mr. Hunter led the only urban agriculture program in Iowa to be one of the top programs in the state. His leadership inspired many at-risk students to engage in a STEM career path and encouraged many students to participate in agricultural youth organizations.

Mr. Hunter takes over for Ms. Catherine Swoboda, who has transitioned into a new role as the World Food Prize Director of Planning.

Media Contact: Megan Forgrave, Director of Communications, 515-245-3794

ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE:  The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, the World Food Prize has honored outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions throughout the world. Thirty-nine laureates have been recognized from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Israel, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the United States. The World Food Prize also annually hosts the Borlaug Dialogue international symposium, and several youth education programs including State Youth Institutes, the Global Youth Institute, the Borlaug-Ruan International Internship, and the USDA Wallace-Carver Fellowship to inspire the next generation to explore careers in science, agriculture and fighting hunger.

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